Compliance Monitoring of Treated Ballast Water Systems

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Ocean hitchhikers are one of the biggest threats to global biodiversity – 2nd only to habitat loss. These non-native species cause huge impacts on economies and can be very detrimental to human health. For example, 16 species of cyanobacteria (marine algae < 10 µm) that have invaded and become very successfully established in the China Sea are costing over $10 billion a year to try and control. Some of these species can cause Toxic Shellfish Poisoning, which can lead to death in humans, and they are also very damaging to the abundance of local species.

In the process of moving 90% of the world’s freight, shipping transfers approximately ten billion tons of ballast water around the world every year. It is one of the biggest vectors for invasive species’ pathways. It has been estimated that 7,000 species can be present in a ballast tank at any one time and that there can easily be over 100 million plankton specimens carried in 1m3 of ballast water – so the risks of invasion are serious.

Ship owners, Port Authorities and Flag States are now required to prevent these invasions by ensuring that the ballast water they discharge has been effectively managed and treated to kill the vast majority of plankton and bacteria that would otherwise be a risk to the local environment. Guidelines of standards have been outlined in the D2 Section of the 2004 IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, however, many countries are already implementing more stringent regulations.

We are now working closely with both manufacturers of treatment systems and certification authorities around the world to achieve the highest standards of test criteria, so that we may be able to assess the efficacy of all treatment systems as rapidly, accurately and objectively as possible.  We are working with Plymouth Marine Laboratory UK, the National Oceanography Centre UK, DNV.GL, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, Lloyd’s Register, Blue Tech, the Society of Maritime Industries, BACTEST Ltd and many more.




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